Situated nearby Hau Lampong Railway station at the end of the Chinatown districts of Bangkok on Yaowarat Road, Wat Traimit is easily found for visitors who are interested in uncovering the mystery and hidden beauty under the most influential Buddha statue of Bangkok and the popular community.
Largest solid gold Buddha image in the world
This unremarkable royal Thai temple of Wat Traimit sits the world's largest solid-gold Buddha image. It is 3-meter tall, 5.5-ton in weight made of about 83% pure gold worthy of around 250 million dollars at today's gold prices.
The majestic gold Buddha has a legendary history
According to Thai temple standards, Wat Traimit is really a modest temple, so the reason of people visiting it is to admire the magnificent majesty solid Gold Buddha statue and the statue has a long and mysterious history. No one knows the origins of the statue but from its egg-shaped head we can deduce that it was made during 13th-14th centuries in the Sukothai period. As the Sukothai art was impacted highly by India and mental figures of the Buddha statues made in India have been taken to different countries for installation, we guessed this huge Golden Buddha statue may have been made in parts in India. Later, it was probably transferred from Sukothai to Ayutthaya in the year of 1403.
When you paying your respects to this iconic Golden Buddha statue, maybe you do not know this 13th century's fashioned statue had spent quite long years completely hiding its glittering identity underneath a thick cloak of plaster and stucco to prevent it from being stolen. So it survived from the destruction of Ayutthaya kingdom by Burmese invaders in 1767. It perfectly remained among the ruins of Ayutthaya without causing any attention and it also escaped successfully from thieves and looters for centuries.
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After commanding the construction of many temples in Bangkok, the King Rama I ordered to gather various old Buddha images from the ruined temples all over the country in the year of 1801.
Time went by, the statue was still covered with stucco. During the reign of King Rama III（1824-1851）, it was moved to and installed as the principal Buddha image in the main temple building of Wat Chotanaram, near Chinatown. When Wat Chotanaram closed due to disrepair, the statue was moved to its present location nearby Wat Traimit in 1935. At that time, the temple was a pagoda with no importance. As the temple didn't have big enough building to house the statue, it was reserved under a simple tin roof for 20 years. In 1954, a newly built Viham at the Wat Traimit were prepared to house the statue, then the iconic Golden Buddha was moved to its new home on a significant date - May 25, 1955. On that day, the statue fell hardly on the ground during the attempt to lift it from its pedestal. At that momentous moment, some of the plaster coating chipped off, the true identity of the gold surface revealed. Now the statue sits in a newly renovated high atop the four story marble-lined temple building at Wat Traimit and the statue is appreciated in all of its golden glory everyday by visitors from all over the world. The true identity of this statue has been forgotten for over 200 years since it was concealed.
The temple opens from 8:00 am and closes at around 5:00 pm every day. However, the museum doesn't open on Mondays.
Other tings can be visited in Wat Traimit
Now the solid Golden Buddha sits on the top floor of the building. The third floor is a museum showing the history of the Golden Buddha image itself. The exhibits cover how the image was casted and how it came to Wat Traimit. The video there generally presents the brief background, as well as the full story of the pose of this image.
The exhibits in the second floor cover the history of Chinese community in Bangkok, showing with a 3D presentation and moving on through slice-of-life scenes of Chinese traders in past years.
A visit to Wat Traimit is a good starting or ending point of a tour to Bangkok's Chinatown area. Hua Lamphong, the central train station in Bangkok is close to the temple and Chinatown as well, which is a great transportation option.
Things should be aware of when visiting the Wat Traimit:
Wat Traimit is known to be an operative and active Thai temple. The administration of this temple commands the visitors to dress up in a respectful manner. It means men are instructed to wear full-length pants along either a short-sleeved or any long-sleeved shirts. However sleeveless shirts and tank tops are strictly prohibited. The administration instructs the women to dress up in knee-length skirts or pants and revealing clothes shall be strictly avoided.
Visitors are allowed to take photographs anywhere of the complex.
It is better for you to wear easily removed shoes as you'll required to take them off when entering any structure in the temple complex.
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